Statistics vary but experts agree 70%-80% of jobs are found through networking. The actual number doesn’t matter. The point is, to be an effective job seeker you need to develop a good contact network and always seek opportunities to grow those contacts.
Contacts don’t have to be linear. If you are looking for a position in marketing, your outreach doesn’t have to be only to marketers. Looking for a job is similar to selling a product, you are the product and the broader and more creative your search, the more likely you will be happy with the outcome and make the sale.
To get started, think about your message. Keep it simple, who are you, what are your passions or interests or what are you studying, what are you hoping to do this summer or as a first full time job. Repeat the message and try it out on close friends and relatives. Whenever you have an opportunity to introduce yourself, try and include the message. As a bonus, Your parents and friends will also be of greater assistance to you if they understand the message.
Where and when to start networking? Consider every day a networking day! Start with close friends and family. Ask for suggestions of their close contacts. Consider former employers, coaches and teachers. Then as a college student a good next step is to look at alumni who have shared your interests, maybe they participated in the similar activities, were members of a team, Greek organization, religious group or volunteer organization. The more closely aligned someone is to you in terms of real personal connection or affinity, the better.
Keep track of your contacts. Make sure to follow up periodically and always thank anyone who has helped you!
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